Chia Seeds as a Herb

By pjain      Published July 3, 2019, 5:04 a.m. in blog Gardening   

Medical Benefits and Uses of Chia Seeds

Good for Leaky Gut?

Cheap to try out, and hey certainly will not hurt you.

Helping irritable bowel syndrome

I can tell you one benefit of the chia seeds. I have had irritable bowel syndrome off and on for years. Every couple of years it would flare up so badly that I ended up going through the usual testing for intestinal tract stuff....ugh! They never found anything. I tried the chia seeds and will put a tsp of them in whatever I'm eating whenever I have issues with my bowels. Problem solved. These work for me. Haven't had an issue in over two years now.

Listen every time I have felt the unmistakeable aspects of my IBS starting to attack I have used the chia seeds and the attack ceases. This has been happening for a couple of years now, over and over and over and over. Gee, what would make me think the chia seeds might be solving the problem that nobody nor nothing else solved over the last 20 years? And idea? To those who think something else might do as well....tried Citrucel and Metimucil and they required a whole lot more product, which actually made them more expensive than the seeds. They did not work as well nor as quickly, either. I eat plenty of fiber foods. So if one tsp of seeds fixes the problem for months, why would I fool around with anything else?

Chia seeds are high in fiber. Some grains are blamed for causing irritable bowel syndrome - but most fiber products are based on these grains. Chia is a completely different grain.

I've suffered from IBS for over 20 years now. After many doctor and emergency room visits, with over 23 tests, they couldn't find the source of the problem, yet they prescribed all sort of drugs to TRY to mask the issues. I'm pretty sure doctors don't actually learn to heal in school, just how to peddle new drugs. Anyhow, back to the Chia topic. There are very few scientific studies regarding the benefits of eating chia seeds (Salvia hispanica), but as far as I know, there aren't any negative issues with eating them. A friend that has IBS told me that chia seeds helped control his IBS issues, so I tried them out. They are amazing, and work like a charm.

Great Simple Soluble Fiber Source for IBS etc.

Chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber.

The "science" is that it is a high fiber know about fiber and how it helps with digestion right?

Soluble Fiber is actually a well tested treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Some other good sources are oatmeal, apples, eggplants, and okra, but those all associated with insoluble fiber which may actually make the situation worse.

Some other good treatments are Metamucil which, while far less exotic, is a natural product too (psyllium seed husks) and Citrucel iwhich is only modestly processed from citrus industry waste. I'm sorry your doc didn't suggest one of those for your condition, but if the chia is working, that should be fine. The others might be worth a try too since they come in more convenient forms.

Gluten Free - Great for Digestion

They're great for digestive problems and for people who think they need a gluten-free diet. If you do a little research and you'll find they have some genuine value.

Recipes for Chia

Eating Chia Seeds

When I feel an attack coming on, I simply either put a teaspoon of the seeds on something I'm eating, put that amount into something I'm drinking, or just eat a teaspoon of them. Problem solved.

They are high in fiber and protein, I love them in my shakes/juices, sometimes just in coconut water too.

Sprouting Chia Seeds

See -

SPROUT IT> Chia seeds, originally used by the ancient Aztec culture as a food source, are prized for being high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. However, many gardeners sprout and grow chia seeds, generally to a height of approximately 1/2 inch, because growing the seeds changes their nutrient levels. For example, sprouted chia seeds have higher levels of certain minerals and vitamins compared to dormant, non-sprouted chia seeds.

Use the Sprinkle Method

While many types of seeds are best sprouted and grown in a jar, such as wheat and various kinds of beans, chia seeds grow best using the sprinkle sprouting method. Add equal amounts of chia seeds and water to a shallow tray. After an hour, tilt the tray to pour out the water, leaving behind the moistened chia seeds. Cover the tray with foil to trap in the moisture. After approximately four days, the chia seeds will start to grow.

Pick the Right Water

Many cities and townships add various chemicals, such as chlorine, to the tap water. Such chemicals can inhibit or slow the sprouting and growth rate for chia seeds. For the fastest sprouting results, chia seeds should only be grown with non-chlorinated water, such as bottled spring water or water that you have run through a filtration system.

Keep Things Warm

While many types of vegetable seeds easily grow at room temperatures ranging from 68 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, chia seeds grow best at slightly warmer temperatures. Use a space heater or heating pad to maintain a temperature of approximately 70 to 85 degrees around the chia seeds during the germination and growth period. Don't Presoak the Chia Seeds

Legumes, such as garbanzo beans, and many other forms of seeds grow fastest if they're first presoaked for 24 hours before placed into a sprouting jar or sprouting tray.

However, this common practice should be avoided when trying to grow chia seeds. That's because the seeds create a gel-like surface if they're soaked for too long, which in turn inhibits germination and can cause the seeds to start rotting before they're given a chance to grow. Measure the Growth

Chia seeds are best consumed when they've grown approximately 1/2 inch long. If you can't eat the chia sprouts all at once, put them in a sealed container and store them in your refrigerator for up to 14 days. This stops their growth and helps slow the formation of bacteria.

Growing Chia Seeds - (Start Mar-Apr N.Ca- Summer)

Our Feb Indoors & Spring to Summer to Try

The Mexican chia (Salvia hispanica) was grown in Mexico and Central America by the Aztecs and other indigenous people of the region. While the native people continued to grow chia, its uses were largely forgotten by outsiders. Chia was rediscovered in the 1900s and is now grown for its nutritious seeds in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. The plants grow quickly, requiring only four months from germination to produce flowers. Germination

Salvias are started indoors in March and April or outdoors in April and May, after all chance of frost has passed. Germinate seeds indoors where they're safe from foraging birds by scattering them on top of a moist paper towel or over seed-starting mix. With little more than warmth, moisture and bright light, chia seeds germinate in three to 14 days. Covering the seed tray with plastic wrap helps keep the exposed seeds moist. Once the seeds germinate, you can carefully prick them out and move them to individual flowerpots. Seedlings

The tiny sprouts grow quickly into sturdy seedlings. Chia plants require warmth and bright light; keep your seedlings near a sunny window where they receive six to eight hours of bright light daily. Water the seedlings when the soil is dry to the touch. Generally, fertilizing is not needed. In four to six weeks, when the seedlings are at least 6 inches tall with six to eight pairs of leaves, you can plant them in the garden. In the Garden

Chia plants prefer a sunny, well-drained location in the garden. Plant the seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart, allowing room to grow. Chias are large plants, growing up to 4 feet tall and 18 inches wide, while hybrids such as "Byron Flint," also known as "Byron's Mexican Sage" (Salvia mexicana x hispanica), grow up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. While drought resistant, chia thrives when watered regularly; water when the soil is dry to the touch. The Flowers

The blue to lavender flowers begin appearing in July and August, four months after germinating the chia seeds. The flowers attract native bees, honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden, making it a hotbed of wildlife activity. Once pollinated, the flowers die back and the tiny seeds develop. Deadhead the flowers to encourage continued blooming until frost. If the seeds are allowed to scatter over the flowerbeds, sparrows and other seed-eating birds will also flock to the garden to enjoy the tiny, oval seeds.

Growing Flowers & Seeds - Annual but Self Seeding Vigorously!

Chia flowers are annuals that work well in naturalized border areas, meadows and wildflower gardens.

Once established, chia will self-seed, coming back every year with little or no effort required.


Plant chia seeds in naturally dry to moderately moist areas. This plant needs only limited moisture, and planting next to lawns or other garden beds that require frequent irrigation during the growing season could lead to overwatering and poor plant growth.

Planting the Seeds

Seed preparation and planting require little preparation beyond gathering the seeds and scattering them at will.

Pull out weeds and other old plant material from the garden bed and then spread a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of compost over the top of the bed. Turn over the soil and compost with a garden fork, digging 8 to 12 inches deep.

Broadcast chia seeds in the prepared seed bed in the fall. Right after harvest time is ideal. Scatter the seeds evenly over the soil, spacing them about 1 inch between the seeds.

Rake the seeds gently into the soil so they are covered by 1/4 to 1/8 inches of soil.

Water the seed bed thoroughly using a soaker setting on the hose or sprinkler.

Harvesting the Seeds

Allow the flower heads to dry out completely before harvesting. When fully dry, the flower heads turn from green to brown and get papery and brittle.

Cut the dried flower heads from the plant with pruning shears. Put the flower heads in a paper bag to keep the tiny seeds from shaking out as you transport them from the growing area.

Dump the chia flower heads onto a screen and rub the plant material to loosen the plant material and release the seeds.

Discard the plant material and put the seeds in a jar or bucket until you are ready to plant them.

Growing in a Cup

Punch two to three drain holes in the bottom of a paper cup with a pencil or knife. Fill the cup with sterile potting mix. Add water to the potting mix until it's thoroughly moistened. 2

Place a germinated chia seed on top of the moist seed starting mix. Stick three or four bamboo skewers into the soil, equidistant around the edge of the cup. Place a plastic bag over the skewers and cup to make a mini greenhouse. 3

Remove the plastic bag and bamboo skewers when the seedling develops its first set of leaves. Place the cup in a warm, brightly lit window where it is protected from direct sunlight. 4

Water when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged as the seedling grows. Fertilizing is not necessary; salvias thrive in every soil type. 5

Transplant the chia seedling to a larger flowerpot or in a sunny location outside when it is 4 inches tall. A chia plant grows up to 4 feet tall; when planting more than one chia, space the plants 12 inches apart.

Harvest the chia's leaves, and use them fresh in salads, sandwiches or soups.
Use fresh or dried leaves for tea.


Keep sharp bamboo skewers and plastic bags out of reach of children and pets.


Springer Science+Business Media; Extending the Range of an Ancient Crop, Salvia Hispanica L. — A New x 3 Source; Watchareewan Jamboonsri, et al.
Organic Gardening: Salvia


Plants for a Future: Salvia Hispanica - L.
Chia -- Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs; Richard Ayerza, et al.

Chia Reference

About - Annual

Chia (Salvia columbariae) is an annual member of the mint family and is edible. These seeds have gained a cult following as a health food, but the dry specks turn into slimy, tapiocalike orbs when wet. This texture is completely natural and normal for chia seeds that have been moistened.

A native wild flower of the western areas of the United States, chia (Salvia columbariae) attracts bees and other pollinators to the garden. The height varies for this adaptable wildflower that ranges in size form a tiny plant 1 inch tall to a leggy 22 inches.

In very dry, harsh conditions chia grows smaller, while established landscapes naturally produce chia plants plants on the taller side.

A member of the mint family, chia (Salvia hispanica) is native to Mexico, and Central and South America. Grown as an annual, chia is famous for its association with animal-shaped, clay sculptures sold on television. While the familiar "chi-chi-chia" theme reverberates through households across America, the chia's seeds and leaves are increasingly known as a natural source of omega-3 oil, antioxidants and fiber. Chia seeds germinate quickly when placed in a moist, brightly lit location, and are often grown as sprouts for salads or juicing. Seedlings may be planted in the garden, harvesting leaves and seeds from mature plants.

Why slimy

The slimy or blobby texture around a chia seed simply means the seed has absorbed water or whatever liquid it was placed into. One chia seed absorbs many times its own weight in liquid, so it's a bit like a speck-sized sponge.


80s Fad

Chia seeds were thought of primarily in reference to TV ads for clay pet and head shapes designed to grow chia "hair."

Aztec Miracle Food

The name "chia" may have originated from an Aztec word, "chian," which means "oily." The seeds were a valuable resource, used in many ways, for ancient cultures in the dry climates of Central America. Many birds and insects also enjoy eating the seeds.


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